Wednesday 14 October 2015

Powerless: no expectations, choice or security - Govan Law Centre's research report on the experience of tenants in Scotland's private rented sector

Govan Law Centre's research report, funded by the Big Lottery in Scotland, on the experience of tenants in Scotland's private rented sector has been published online (full link below).

We searched out and listened to the personal experience of a wide range of tenants in Glasgow’s private rented sector.  Our report is their story. Their voice represents a common experience which we have no reason to believe is not replicated across Scotland and the UK.

Our study, funded by the Big Lottery in Scotland, reveals that most tenants feel powerless and worry that they have little more than a month’s security of tenure.  Learning from their experience, GLC's report makes a number of major law reform, practice and policy recommendations.

We do not believe the Scottish Government's Private Rented Housing (Tenancies) Bill, published last week, as currently drafted is capable of tackling the many problems our report evidences and identifies. We hope the Bill can be amended in order to give Scotland private rented sector tenants a little power, choice and security in their relationships with private landlords.

Coverage of GLC's report in the media:
Evening Times Special Report 
The Herald
The Herald Opinion 

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Update on GLC's Public Interest Litigation Unit (PILU)

Since launching just over three months ago, and with no dedicated resources, Govan Law Centre's Public Interest Litigation Unit (PILU) has been inundated with requests for assistance from across Scotland; what follows is a brief update of work streams.

We have sought to prioritise and utilise our limited resources to try and achieve the best possible strategic litigation outcomes for those in need of help in Scotland.

At present PILU is staffed by GLC's Principal Solicitor and Solicitor Advocate, Mike Dailly, and Deirdre Flanigan, a Trainee Solicitor with a specialist interest in International Human Rights. We are developing the offers of support we have had from advocates, solicitors, experts and other volunteers to increase our capacity and reach.

The PILU is currently progressing a number of cases across Scotland with respect the legality of charges for non-residential care for severely disabled people. This is a live strategy, working with a national disability rights charity, and we hope to be in a position to provide further updates when appropriate to do so.

Other examples of work include working with a national charity in relation to the rights of asylum seekers, and we are currently ingathering evidence and preparing test cases to challenge the unacceptable treatment of asylum seekers in Scotland in relation to accommodation and services.

With respect to the environmental concerns of fracking and UCG in Scotland and the UK, the PILU is undertaking research and investigation into potential legal strategies, working with local communities in Fife, and developing links to other potential stakeholders.

In Glasgow, we have agreed in principle to represent the interests of local communities in relation to a potential forthcoming public inquiry; while in Edinburgh we are looking at the possibility of helping to prevent multiple evictions.

If you have a issue of wider strategic public interest in Scotland that requires legal assistance you can set out the details and send same to PILU@ We have limited resources and need to target these as best as possible, but we will consider each case on its merits, having regard to our criteria for trying to help where there is a national or wider public interest.